Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

A great speech about technology and other things by Jonathan Safran Foer

The writer hits the nail on the head.

Fri, Jun 21, 2013, 16:06


“We understand and remember less from a hyperlinked text, and we experience less emotional depth from a hyperlinked life.”

I was interviewing Amanda Palmer recently, and we got on to the subject of memory, the retention of memories, and the impact the internet has on our attention spans and what not. It’s a topic that interests me hugely, so when she said I should watch this Jonathan Safran Foer commencement speech at Middlebury College, I of course… forgot pretty much instantly. Then, while going through the copy of the interview today, I was reminded of it.

It’s great, check it out.

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Foer’s remarks on the divisions between archivists and eye-witnesses is something that is bubbling up in loads of different spheres; photography at gigs, the relevance of Instagram and SnapChat, why selfies exist, how we are disconnecting through technology, and so on. As Foer says, “We are now on the cusp of all photos being taken on phones… The more the camera can do, the less possible being present becomes.” But ultimately, this nagging feeling that many of us have, that our brains are being altered against the will of our minds┬áis articulated by Foer with remarkable clarity.

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